January 2013 Bulletin
We at the Centre for Internet & Society (CIS) wish you all a great year ahead and welcome you to the first issue of our newsletter for the year 2013. This issue brings you an overview of our research programs, events organised and participated, news and media coverage, and videos of recent events.
CIS is seeking applications for the posts of Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge — Indic Language Initiatives), Developer (NVDA Project), Programme Officer (Access to Knowledge and Openness), and Programme Officer (Internet Governance). To apply send your resume to [email protected] and [email protected]. For our Privacy project, we are seeking applications for the post of Researcher, Technology/Security Expert, Graphic Designer as well as for internships. To apply for these posts, please send in your resume to Elonnai Hickok ([email protected]).
CIS is carrying out two projects in partnership with the Hans Foundation. The first one is to create a national resource kit of state-wise laws, policies and programmes on issues relating to persons with disabilities in India and the second one is for developing a screen reader and text to speech synthesizer for Indian languages. We are also working with the World Blind Union to develop the Treaty for Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons, and assisting in the negotiations at WIPO:
National Resource Kit for Persons with Disabilities
Anandhi Viswanathan from CIS and Manojna Yeluri from the Centre for Law and Policy Research are working in this project. Shruti Ramakrishnan has left the project. Draft chapters have been published. Feedback and comments are invited from readers for the chapter on Haryana:
- The Haryana Chapter (by Anandi Viswanathan, January 31, 2012): The state implements the provisions under the central laws, particularly the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 and the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999.
Submission / Notification
- Making Public Libraries Accessible to People with Disabilities (by Rahul Cherian, January 23, 2013): CIS was one of the 20 disability rights groups that wrote to the Ministry of Culture.
- Government of Madhya Pradesh initiates ICT Accessibility in Public Communication (by Nirmita Narasimhan, January 31, 2013): CIS with Daisy Forum of India member Arushi in Bhopal submitted a request for a notification mandating that all communication by the Government of Madhya Pradesh should be accessible to persons with disabilities.
- Accessible Broadcasting in India (by Srividya Vaidyanathan, January 11, 2013): The abridged version of ITU’s report "Making Television Accessible" which was initially put up for comments last year has been updated once again.
- Linking Commercial Availability and Exceptions in the Treaty for Visually Impaired/Persons with Disabilities (by Rahul Cherian, January 23, 2013).
In partnership with the International Development Research Centre we are doing a project on Pervasive Technologies examining the relationship between production of pervasive technologies and intellectual property. The Wikimedia Foundation’s India Program to support and develop free knowledge in India is now being executed by us. We are also supporting the Iraq government in developing an eGovernment Interoperability Framework:
Beginning from September 1, 2012, Wikimedia Foundation has awarded CIS a two-year grant of INR 26,000,000 to support and develop free knowledge in India. The A2K team consists of four members based in Delhi: T. Vishnu Vardhan, Nitika Tandon, Subhashish Panigrahi and Noopur Raval.
New Project Director
- T. Vishnu Vardhan is the new Programme Director-Access to Knowledge at CIS. Vishnu has over the last 11 years worked in various capacities as researcher, grant manager, teacher, project consultant, information architect and translator. Vishnu managed the Art, Crafts and Culture portfolio of Sir Ratan Tata Trust and also worked as Research Coordinator at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society.
New Distinguished Fellow at CIS
- Tejaswini Niranjana, a Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Culture and Society (CSCS), Bangalore, and Visiting Professor at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai is joining our team as an Adviser to the 'Access to Knowledge' project. She will guide the A2K team in expanding the Indian language Wikipedias and in increasing the number of active editors through strategic partnerships with Higher Education institutions across India.
- Access to Knowledge Report — September to December 2012 (by Noopur Raval, January 31, 2013): The report covers an overview of the activities done by the Access to Knowledge team under the grant provided by the Wikimedia Foundation from September 2012 to December 2012.
- Indic Language Wikipedias — Statistical Report — 2012 (by Shiju Alex, January 21, 2013): A statistical update of the Indic language Wikipedias for the year 2012 providing perspectives on the health of various Indic language communities as well as the state of various Indic language wikipedias.
Wiki Event Reports
CIS organised a series of Wiki workshops in Goa in the month of December 2012, we bring you the reports from those events.
Note: The workshops were held in the month of December 2012 but the reports were published only in the month of January.
- Two-day Wiki Workshop in Goa University: An Introduction (by Nitika Tandon, January 15, 2013).
- Wikipedia in St. Xavier's College, Mapusa, Goa (by Nitika Tandon, January 19, 2013).
- Bringing Konkani Encyclopedia in Public Domain (by Nitika Tandon, January 22, 2013).
- Promoting GLAM in Goa (by Nitika Tandon, January 24, 2013).
- Konkani in Wikipedia Incubator — Taking it to the Next Level (by Nitika Tandon, January 25, 2013).
CIS also organised a Wiki workshop in Ghaziabad:
- A Wiki Workshop at Raj Kumar Goel Institute of Technology, Ghaziabad (RKGIT, Ghaziabad, January 17, 2013).
Wiki Event Participated
- Celebrating the success of Wikipedia in Wikipedia Summit Pune 2013 (organized by Wikipedia Club, Pune, January 12 – 13, 2013). Subhashish Panigrahi participated in the event.
Wikipedia News Coverage
- First Odia Wikipedia Education Program concludes at IIMC, Dhenkanal (Odisha Diary Bureau, Dhenkanal, January 27, 2013).
- Odia Wikipedia's 9th Anniversary and Workshop on Application of Odia in Media (Sambad, January 30, 2013).
Wiki Events Organised
- Odia Education Program (Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Dhenkanal, Orissa, January 26, 2013).
- Odia Wikipedia 9th Anniversary Celebration (Academy of Media Learning, Samantha Vihar, Bhubaneswar, Orissa, January 29, 2013).
The Pervasive Technologies project carries out research on the intellectual property implicated in the hardware, software and content available in low-cost mobile devices.The long-term outcome of this project is to create a legitimate, legal space for these technologies to exist on the Indian market.
- Pervasive Technologies: Access to Knowledge in the Market Place — A Presentation by Sunil Abraham (FGV Law School, Rio de Janeiro, December 15, 2012).
- Fifth International IPR Conference (GIPC 2013) (organised by ITAG Business Solutions, Hotel Lalit Ashok, Bangalore, January 30, 2013): Snehashish Ghosh made a presentation on the Pervasive Technologies Project.
Other Openness Updates
Blog Posts / Columns
- The Violence of Knowledge Cartels (by Nishant Shah, Hybrid Publishing Lab, January 17, 2013).
- Remembering Aaron Swartz, Taking Up the Fight (by Nishant Shah, DML Central, January 24, 2013).
- Aaron Swartz: The First Martyr of the Free Information Movement: Prabir Purkayastha interviewed Lawrence Liang on Newsclick, January 19, 2013. The video is published.
- Bangalore hackers write code as tribute to Aaron Swartz (by Deepa Kurup, Hindu, January 21, 2013. Sunil Abraham is quoted.
|HasGeek creates discussion spaces for geeks and has organised conferences like the Fifth Elephant, Droidcon India 2011, Android Camp, etc. HasGeek is supported by CIS and works out from CIS office in Bengaluru.|
With Privacy International, London we signed an agreement to facilitate the implementation of activities related to surveillance and freedom of speech and expression. In this month we have blog posts on data retention, international principles of surveillance and human rights and comparitive analysis of Indian legislation vis-à-vis draft of the International Principles on Surveillance of Communications by Ellonai Hickok, and columns by Sunil Abraham and Nishant Shah:
- Data Retention in India (by Elonnai Hickok, January 30, 2013): The post provides an insight into the data retention mandates from the Government of India and data retention practices by service providers.
- Draft International Principles on Communications Surveillance and Human Rights (by Elonnai Hickok, January 16, 2013): These principles were developed by Privacy International and the Electronic Frontier Foundation and seek to define an international standard for the surveillance of communications.
- A Comparison of Indian Legislation to Draft International Principles on Surveillance of Communications (by Elonnai Hickok, January 31, 2013): The principles, first drafted in October 2012 and developed subsequently seek to establish an international standard for surveillance of communications in the context of human rights. CIS is contributing feedback to the drafting of the principles.
- Web of Sameness (by Nishant Shah, Indian Express, January 18, 2013).
- TV versus Social Media: The Rights and Wrongs (by Sunil Abraham, The Tribune, January 20, 2013).
- Statement of Solidarity on Freedom of Expression and Safety of Internet Users in Bangladesh (by Pranesh Prakash, January 15, 2013): This is a statement on the violent attack on blogger Asif Mohiuddin by the participants to the Third South Asian Meeting on the Internet and Freedom of Expression.
- No Civil Society Members in the Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee (by Pranesh Prakash, January 10, 2013).
- Five Frequently Asked Questions about the Amended ITRs (by Chinmayi Arun, January 28, 2013): The author discusses the five major questions that have been the subject of debate after the World Conference on International Telecommunications 2012 (WCIT).
- DML Conference 2013 (co-organised by CIS and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub Central, Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers - Chicago, Illinois, March 14 – 16, 2013).
- An Introduction to Bitfilm and Bitcoin – A Discussion by Aaron Koenig (CIS, Bangalore, January 23, 2013): Aaron Koenig, Managing Director, Bitfilm Networks of Hamburg, Germany gave a talk.
- Panel Discussion on E-Commerce at NLSIU (organised by National Law School of India University, Bangalore, January 7, 2013). Pranesh Prakash was a panelist.
- Mobile Broadband: Leveraging for Business Transformation (Chancery Pavilion, Bangalore, January 9, 2013): Sunil Abraham was a panelist in this event.
- Third South Asian Meeting on the Internet and Freedom of Expression (organized by Internet Democracy Project, Voices for Interactive Choice & Empowerment and Global Partners & Associates, Dhaka, January 14 – 15, 2013): Pranesh Prakash moderated the session on "Understanding cyber security and surveillance in South Asia”.
- Is Freedom of Expression under Threat in the Digital Age? (organized by Editors Guild of India, Index on Censorship and Sage, India International Centre, New Delhi, January 15, 2013): Sunil Abraham was a panelist at this event.
- 7th India Digital Summit 2013 (organised by Internet and Mobile Association of India, Lalit Hotel, New Delhi, January 16 – 17, 2013): Sunil Abraham was the moderator for Plenary Session 3: Discussion on Social Media – Freedom, Moderation or Regulation.
- 9th International Asian Conference (organised by ITechLaw, February 14 – 15, 2013): Sunil Abraham will be participating as a panelist in the session on “Censorship of Online Content”.
- 2012 in Review: Biometric ID Systems Grew Internationally...and So Did Concerns about Privacy (by Rebecca Bowe, Right Side News, January 1, 2013)
- Cool Jobs | Parmesh Shahani, Head, Godrej India Culture Lab (LiveMint, January 4, 2013).
- Clash of the cyberworlds (by Latha Jishnu, Dinsa Sachan and Moyna, Down to Earth, January 15, 2013 issue). Pranesh Prakash is quoted.
- Is freedom of expression under threat in digital age? (originally published by Indo Asian News Service, January 16, 2013 and also covered in the Business Standard, Vancouver Desi, DNA, and Tech2). Sunil Abraham is quoted.
- Is freedom of expression under threat in the digital age? (by Mahima Kaul, Index on Censorship, January 18, 2013).
- Internet Freedom in India – Open to Debate (by Kirsty Hughes, Index on Censorship, January 22, 2013). CIS research on censorship is quoted.
- Cyber security, surveillance and the right to privacy: country perspectives (by Richa Kaul Padte, Internet Democracy Project).
- Surveillance Camp: Privatized State Surveillance (by Katitza Rodriguez, Electronic Frontier Foundation, January 28, 2013). Elonnai Hickok is quoted.
- An innovative concept comes to the fore (Deccan Herald, January 29, 2013).
Internet Access – Knowledge Repository
|In partnership with Ford Foundation, CIS was tasked to produce and disseminate modules on various aspects of telecommunications including policy, regulations, infrastructure and market. However, as on November 9, 2012 there was a change in the mandate of the project. Currently, we are working on building a knowledge repository on “Internet Access”. This new repository will cover the history of the internet, technologies involved, principle and values of internet access, broadband market and universal access. It will also touch upon various polices and regulations which has an impact on internet access and bodies and mechanism which are responsible for such policy formulation. For this purpose we will be hosting a new website: www.internet-institute.in.|
|We are also organizing an “Institute on Internet and Society” in collaboration with the Ford Foundation India, which is to be held from June 8, 2013 to June 14, 2013. Call for registrations and relevant details will be soon announced on our website.|
While the potential for growth and returns exist for telecommunications in India, a range of issues need to be addressed. One aspect is more extensive rural coverage and the other is a countrywide access to broadband which is low. Both require effective and efficient use of networks and resources, including spectrum.:
Column by Shyam Ponappa
- What's Needed Is User-Centric Design, Not Good Intentions (by Shyam Ponappa, Business Standard, January 3, 2013 and Organizing India Blogpost, January 6, 2013).
- 21st Convergence Conference Conference India 2013 (organized by Exhibitions India Group, January 16 – 17, 2013, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi). Snehashish Ghosh participated in the event.
From 2012 to 2015, the Researchers At Work series is focusing on building research clusters in the field of Digital Humanities. We organised the first Habits of Living workshops in Bangalore last year. The next workshop is being held in Brown University:
Habits of Living Workshop
- Habits of Living: Networked Affects, Glocal Effects (organised by CIS and Brown University, March 21 – 23, 2013, Brown University, Rhode Island). Nishant Shah will be speaking at this event.
|CIS was registered as a society in Bangalore in 2008. As an independent, non-profit research organisation, it runs different policy research programmes such as Accessibility, Access to Knowledge, Openness, Internet Governance, and Telecom. The policy research programmes have resulted in outputs such as the e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities with ITU and G3ict, and Digital Alternatives with a Cause?, Thinkathon Position Papers and the Digital Natives with a Cause? Report with Hivos, etc. We have conducted policy research for the Ministry of Communications & Information Technology, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, etc., on WIPO Treaties, Copyright Bill, NIA Bill, etc.|
|CIS is accredited as an observer at WIPO. CIS staff participates in the Standing Committee for Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) meetings regularly held in Geneva, and participate in the discussions and comments on them from a public interest perspective. Our Policy Director, Nirmita Narasimhan won the National Award for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities from the Government of India and also received the NIVH Excellence Award.|
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Please help us defend consumer / citizen rights on the Internet! Write a cheque in favour of ‘The Centre for Internet and Society’ and mail it to us at No. 194, 2nd ‘C’ Cross, Domlur, 2nd Stage, Bengaluru – 5600 71.
Request for Collaboration
We invite researchers, practitioners, and theoreticians, both organisationally and as individuals, to collaboratively engage with Internet and society and improve our understanding of this new field. To discuss the research collaborations, write to Sunil Abraham, Executive Director, at [email protected] or Nishant Shah, Director – Research, at [email protected]
CIS is grateful to its donors, Wikimedia Foundation, Ford Foundation, Privacy International, UK, Hans Foundation and the Kusuma Trust which was founded by Anurag Dikshit and Soma Pujari, philanthropists of Indian origin, for its core funding and support for most of its projects.